How to Make Blessing Bags for the Homeless



While driving around Hampton Roads, we pass by homeless people holding signs, asking for help each day. While we don't always carry cash—or perhaps aren't comfortable with handing money to strangers—there's still an easy way that we can help.

Mariah Smith, founder of local nonprofit organization Blankets for the Homeless, suggests this beneficial way to immediately bless someone. They're called Blessing Bags—paper bags filled with non-perishable food and other necessities, that can be passed out to people in need. Here's how to make your own blessing bags to keep in your car:

1. Grab a stack of paper lunch bags and, with a marker, write a blessing of your choice on the bag—whatever message you feel would be encouraging.

blessing bags

2. Fill the bags with non-perishable lunches, water bottles, toiletries and small, seasonal items of clothing. (See below for suggested items.)

blessing bag items

3. Keep the bags in your car—in the front seat or front floorboard if you're able, so that they'll be easily accessible when you need to quickly grab one.

blessing bags to keep in car

4. Hand to someone in need. Don't forget to smile; smiles are always free and can have a tremendous impact on someone's day.

blankets for the homeless mariah

 

Suggested Non-Perishable Foods:

Cans of vienna sausages*

Tuna lunches to-go (packs containing sealed, bagged tuna, mayo and crackers)

Beef jerky

Protein/granola bars

Packs of nuts and dried fruit

Fruit or applesauce cups

Crackers

Bags of chips or cookies

Always include a bottle of water that they can refill, a napkin and a fork or spoon.

*With any canned foods, be sure to choose the pop-lids and not the kind that requires a can opener.

 

Personal Hygiene Items*

Deodorant

Toothbrush

Toothpaste

Hotel or travel-sized soap, lotion, shampoo and conditioner

Non-alcohol hand sanitizer

Wet wipes

Pack of tissues

Sanitary products

Mints or gum

Chapstick

Bandaids

*When including personal hygiene items, it's best to package these items in a ziplock bag to prevent any food items from smelling/tasting like soap.

 

Winter Items

Socks

Gloves

Hat

Scarf

Hand warmers

 

Summer Items

Sunscreen

T-shirt

Bug spray

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